Detained former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb has been questioned by the local police over his suspected involvement in the kidnapping of a Swiss millionaire last year.
Adeeb’s lawyer Moosa Siraj said his client was accused of masterminding the kidnapping of Christopher Peter Nikola on September 3, 2015 from a private residence in Switzerland and demanding a US$3 million ransom.
“Ahmed Adeeb denies the allegation, and has given a statement to police regarding the matter,” he said.
A police spokesman was “unable to comment on the matter.”
The Maldives Independent was unable to locate any news reports of a Swiss millionaire by the name of Christopher Peter Nikola being kidnapped, threatened or extorted.
According to local media, the Swiss businessman owns shares in Noomadi Resorts and Residences – a Maldives-based company contracted by the government to construct 300 police flats in 2013 while Adeeb was tourism minister.
Adeeb, according to his lawyer, is also accused of threatening staff members of Noomadi Resorts and Residences.
Apart from operating Alifu Alifu atoll Gengehi Island Resort the company was also contracted to build row houses in Haa Dhaalu atoll Kulhudhuffushi and 100 housing units in Hanimaadhoo of the same atoll during former President Mohamed Nasheed’s tenure.
Adeeb, who served as tourism minister since February 2012 before his appointment as vice president last July, is presently standing trial on multiple counts of corruption and abuse of authority in connecting with the theft of nearly US$80 million from the state-owned tourism promotion company.
He is also being prosecuted on charges of terrorism over a blast on President Abdulla Yameen’s speedboat last September, which the government claims was an attempt to assassinate the president.
The explosion led to Adeeb’s arrest on October 24 and impeachment days later, as well as a probe into the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s lease of islands and lagoons for resort development.